kids

MasterChef Junior: 7 Layer Dip

Last week, Ian, Avery, and Kya’s previous top notch dishes landed them stints as team captains for a fun, obviously guacamole-sponsored, relay race!

Ian’s team includes Jesse, Amaya, JJ, Zac, and Mia.  Avery is backed by Adam, Jaeclyn, Derek, Kaitlyn, and Tae-Ho.  Kya’s team is Addison, Sam, Kammily, Corey, and Nate.  Because this is MasterChef Junior, the winning team (aka the team who assembles all 7 layers the fastest) gets to dunk their judge’s face right into their completed dip.  Ian and crew is playing to dunk Christina, Avery and company for Graham, and Kya’s team is in it for Gordon.

Ian’s team wins a major advantage, the opportunity to sit the elimination out, and of course, Christina’s fate– “Nothing in life prepares you for this,” she states right before Ian pushes her face into the bowl of 7 layer dip.  Avery and Kya follow suit dunking Graham and Gordon respectively proving that Gordon will let these kids punish him every single time.  What a guy!

Ian’s team heads into the pantry to take control of the elimination challenge.  The choices are “spicy” ingredients, as presented by Christina whose family tells her she can sometimes be just that, “stinky” ingredients, as presented by Graham who gets that way after a gym sessions, and “wrinkly” ingredients, as presented by Gordon who literally could not make me smile more.

The challenge to the 12 kids in the kitchen is “stinky” ingredients.  Here’s what they make:

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L to R, T to B: Addison, Derek, Kya, Avery, Jaeclyn, Corey, Nate, Adam.

The standouts include Addison, who makes a dish I have never heard of with flavors that make the judges nervous, but deliver!  Also up there is Nate, who’s become hilariously confident.  Nate is called out for his accomplishment, but Addison wins!

Corey, Jaeclyn, and Adam find themselves in the bottom.  Corey is released back to the kitchen and Jaeclyn and Adam are sent home.  Adam didn’t let his pasta rest and cooked food in truffle oil… which even I know is wrong.  Jaeclyn just didn’t seem to be on the same level as some of these kids– her palate was not as adventurous and expansive and ultimately, she suffered for that.

Something tells me we’ve still not seen what some of these kids can really do!  Addison and Kya are standing out, we’ve seen Avery and Nate deliver knock-outs, and I’m still seeing so much potential in my hometown hero, Sam!  I’ve also got an eye on Amaya.  We’ve not gotten to see much of her food yet, but she is too cute.

Thoughts?!

MasterChef Junior: Aww Shucks!

Last week’s MasterChef Junior started with a challenge between Addison, Sam, and Jesse– the best dishes from the previous week.  Before them, 60 cupcakes.  Their task: to frost as many as possible.  In true, fun MasterChef Junior fashion, giant icing bags sit perched over the heads of the judges.

Addison frosts vanilla cupcakes to save Gordon from the vanilla frosting; Sam frosts chocolate cupcakes to save Graham from chocolate frosting; Jesse frosts pink cupcakes to save Christina from strawberry frosting.  The best part is there’s an adorable guest judge!  It’s my favorite MasterChef Junior title holder, Logan!

  • Logan counts up their perfectly frosted cupcakes.  Addison only has 10, thus Gordon is frosted first.
  • With 11, Jesse didn’t do much better.  I feel like frosting Christina is her true welcome to MasterChef Junior: this is a different show, Christina!
  • Sam gets 29 and saves Graham.  It’s worth mentioning, if Gordon were saved, the frosting still would’ve poured… either Gordon Ramsay is a really good sport or someone has decided it’s more enjoyable to watch him take all the punishment.  Still, the kids yell out frosting fight! so Graham can get a little messy.  Logan carts out buckets of sprinkles to complete the picture.

After a quick-change, it’s on to the main challenge.  Gordon demonstrates how to shuck live scallops.  Do these kids even know how lucky they are?  I’d like to try my hand at shucking one of these now.  The kids must shuck their own scallops and make a dish with them as the star ingredient.

Someone commented last week that the skill level of this crop of kids seems lower than previous seasons.  I agree on the two eliminated last week, and I agree on one account still in the MCJ kitchen.  “Ian is really feeling the pressure,” says Christina and Ian literally balls his eyes out in the kitchen.  I know this isn’t fair for me to say because he’s 8-years-old, and I’d probably be crying too with near 20 years on him.  Kind soul Gordon comes and shucks the scallops for him.  He also shucks Annabelle’s who, in contrast, calmly mentions that she’s having a tough time opening them.  She’s tested later after burning her initial haul and apparently shucks and cooks new ones in <5 minutes.

Here’s what we see the kids produce:

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L to R, T to B: Tae-Ho, Nate, Chad, Ian, Vivian, Derek, Kamilly, Amaya, Annabelle

Tae-Ho is announced the clear winner!

The four bottom dishes are called up to the front: Chad, Vivian, Kamilly, and Annabelle.  Kamilly and Annabelle are asked to step forward, then are announced safe.  Poor Chad and already crying Annabelle get sent home.  Chad really breaks my heart– he said something like, “I’m only 9-years-old, but I’m really creative,” while he cooked.  He inspired me to go eat a meatball (thanks to Nonna’s visit) while I watched.  I just feel like both of these kids had more finesse than a certain someone… but it’s in the taste!

I always cry watching this show!

And I always can’t wait for more!

MasterChef Junior: Marshmallow Madness

MasterChef Junior is back and this girl couldn’t be happier!  If you’re new here, MasterChef Junior (or MCJ, as I like to abbreviate things) is a cooking competition show for 8 – 13 year olds who all put me to shame.

This season, it’s 24 new kids and one new judge.  This is Christina Tosi’s first season of MCJ, and it’s nice to see her soak in the novelty of the situation.  These kids are amazing little cooks, and now that I’m 4 seasons in, that initial shock and magic kind of wore off.  I now accept that there are 8-year-olds with more refined paletes than mine.  Seeing it through Christina’s eyes brought that back, though.

The other fun thing about MCJ is there are a lot of cute gimmicks for the kids and for the families watching.  For example, the kids had to batter a giant piñata of Gordon Ramsay’s head to get their aprons.  Graham calls it Lord of the Flies.  Still, we start off like any other season of MasterChef: with a Mystery Box Challenge!

This one is symbolic.  Inside the Mystery Box is a lone bun, which the kids correctly guess is for burgers.  The top three are:

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Avery, age 9 / Zac, age 12 / Kya, age 8

Kya wins becoming the first 8-year-old to win a Mystery Box Challenge.  Her advantage comes in the form of, of course, not having to cook.  She also gets to pick a friend to enjoy her treats (prepared by Christina) and also get a free pass into the next round.  She selects Vivian.  She does not have control of the elimination challenge ingredient, though.

Instead, she presents it… with a bang.  There’s a fake detonator and marshmallows rain upon the kids.  Gordon bellows the name of the ingredient, in case the kids can’t tell as the duck and cover.  Honestly, I hate marshmallows more than anything, but watching the scene was hilarious.

Out of 22 cooking kids, we only see these 8:

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R to L, T to B: Addison, Sam, Alexander, Kade, Jesse, Corey, Mia, Ian

I feel it bears repeating that I truly hate marshmallows more than anything, but some of these would even make me take a bite!  The judges award baseball cap/cupcake queen Addison, mohawk Sam, and Ramones tee Jesse the distinction of best dishes.

Alexander, Kade, and Ian are the bottom three.  Ian squeaks by to cook another day and out first two are sent packing.  Yes, it breaks my heart to see these kids go home every time.

I’m so excited to see what these kids can do with real ingredients!  And we have a lot of kids to get to know still!  Who’s watching?!  Who else loves this show?!

MasterChef Junior 3: Finale

It came so quickly, but here we are for the finale of MasterChef Junior season three!  It’s 12-year-old Nathan, self-proclaimed superman of the sauté pan, facing off against 11-year-old Andrew.

They have just 90 minutes to cook the best three course meal of their young lives– an appetizer, entrée, and dessert.  They must accomplish this task in front of their families, friends, and former competitors, then serve to Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich (for the last time on this show, wahh!), and Graham Elliot.

Former competitor Quincy calls this match up between “the quiet mouse in the corner and the big lion.”  I agree with this– these two are so different in personality and food!  I’m still stuck on Andrew thinking dessert is useless, while Nathan’s desserts have blown the judges away!  Andrew is cooking Tuscan-style and Nathan is cooking traditional French-style.

Here is what Nathan cooks:

His appetizer is "not perfectly executed" in Graham's assessment, but Gordon praises the idea and the flavors.

His appetizer is “not perfectly executed” in Graham’s assessment, but Gordon praises the idea and the flavors.

Graham says Nathan's entrée is the best dish he's ever created.  Gordon loves the melt-in-your-mouth lamb, and Joe loves the asparagus purée.

Graham says Nathan’s entrée is the best dish he’s ever created.  Gordon loves the melt-in-your-mouth lamb, and Joe loves the asparagus purée.

My mouth is watering looking at Nathan's dessert, which the judges agree is delicious!  It brings cohesiveness to his menu as a whole.

My mouth is watering looking at Nathan’s dessert, which the judges agree is delicious!  It brings cohesiveness to his menu as a whole.

Here is what Andrew cooks:

Joe calls his appetizer "professionally executed," and Graham praises the work he put in to his homemade ricotta.

Joe calls his appetizer “professionally executed,” and Graham praises the work he put in to his homemade ricotta.

Andrew's ravioli has a problem: the meat is undercooked.  The pasta is delicious, though.

Andrew’s ravioli has a problem: the meat is undercooked.  The pasta is delicious, though.

Despite being an odd choice, Andrew's dessert works.  Joe calls it a king's rice pudding and I think the judges finish off the bowl.

Despite being an odd choice, Andrew’s dessert works.  Joe calls it a king’s rice pudding and I think the judges finish off the bowl.

 

The judges assess the meals they’ve just eaten and as usual, have the young home cooks switch places with them as they make the announcement.  The winner of MasterChef Junior is, starts Gordon, then leaves a long pause…

NATHAN!

Congratulations, Nathan!  I was cheering you on!

I loved watching this dark horse get more vocal and rise to the top of the pack.  And his menu?  I’d totally want to eat that!  Are you as happy as I am with our next MasterChef Junior?

MasterChef Junior: Family Favorites

This week’s MasterChef Junior started out with a Mystery Box Challenge that wasn’t so much of a mystery.  Thanks to a floating banana from the sky, the home cooks are not surprised to find bunches of bananas under their boxes.  Bananas are one of my absolute favorite foods, so I love this challenge!

Gordon, Joe, and Graham taste Jenna’s, Nathan’s, and Ryan Kate’s.

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Nathan wins!  How could he not with those mouth-watering macarons?!  He wins an advantage in the elimination challenge, which Gordon’s youngest daughter, Matilda Ramsay, comes out to announce.

Twelve-year-old Tilly explains that the one dish the Ramsay kids always request their father make is salmon en croûte with hollandaise sauce, baby potatoes, and minted peas.  The kids will basically taste it/make it (for those of you who watch Hell’s Kitchen) but with a little help from Matilda, who lists the ingredients for the dish which they also find on their stations.

Though Tilly sports a British accent, she pronounces basil like an American, much to her father's chagrin.  Gordon teases her about this, but she's adamant it's bay-zil.

Though Tilly sports a British accent, she pronounces basil like an American, much to her father’s chagrin. Gordon teases her about this, but she’s adamant it’s bay-zil.

Nathan doesn’t have to cook, instead he gets to eat a salmon en croûte prepared by Gordon Ramsay himself.

The kids try to replicate Gordon’s dish, with varying degrees of success:

Gordon's dish is in the center.  How did the kids do?!

Gordon’s dish is in the center. How did the kids do?!

Jenna | salmon perfect, pastry cooked beautifully, even the hollandaise  came together!
Andrew | just nailed it, overall excellent!
Kayla | way too much pastry, and it’s raw, very little salmon.
Ayla | the sauce is spicy, but the salmon, the hero, is perfect!
Ryan Kate | overcooked her salmon
Riley | pastry is raw, potatoes need more color, hollandaise is broken.
Jimmy | visually, near perfect, and the taste aligns!

The top two are Jimmy and Andrew, whose the real winner.  On the bottom, we have Kayla, Riley, and Ryan Kate.

Ryan Kate is eliminated, and I literally gasp out loud.  Riley is also eliminated.  I’m really shocked at these results, as I thought Ryan Kate had been a strong contender and Kayla was looking a bit weak lately.  Let’s hope she can make a come back!  It’s just Jenna and Kayla hanging in there for the girls, now.

I’ll miss Ryan Kate, who cooks with such maturity.  I’ll miss Riley, with statements like he “made a lot of nice friends.”  It goes without saying that they are both very talented!

Six left means the competition is really getting down to the wire!  Can’t wait to see what these kids do next!

MasterChef Junior: Tag-Team Sushi

This week’s episode started off with a test-your-knowledge challenge for the top three from last week: Jenna, Nathan, and Corey.

Stocked up in the MasterChef Junior pantry are over 500 ingredients without labels including 83 herbs, 32 kinds of peppers, and 11 types of rice.  Jenna, Nathan, and Corey each receive a shopping list of 20 ingredients with two minutes to shop the crowded pantry.

Corey successfully identifies and retrieves 7 ingredients.  Nathan beats him by one, correctly identifying 8 ingredients.  Jenna is the winner with 10!  She wins an advantage in the evening’s main event.  For the win, she selects the teams for the elimination challenge.  For herself, she selects Kayla.  She pairs Andrew with Riley, Ryan Kate with Nathan, Jack with Corey, and Ayla with Jimmy.

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The junior chefs’ challenge is to recreate this sushi boat.  They will work individually while their partner advises from the side for 3 minute intervals, then switch and tag in their partner.  This intricate task involves rolling the California roll, slicing the fish for the nigiri, preparing the tempura batter and frying the shrimp.

Jenna chose Kayla because she’s her friend, but their teamwork was nonexistent.  They cry through the judges’ evaluation.  Jack thought he was a sushi master and Corey was too crazy for him.  He was not a sushi master and they had no success either.  Andrew and Riley made a nice team and a nice plate of sushi.  Nathan and Ryan Kate did well too.  The true superstars were Ayla and Jimmy, who created the best sushi and won the challenge!

Ayla & Jimmy's excellent duplicate of the sushi boat looks so delicious!

Ayla & Jimmy’s excellent duplicate of the sushi boat looks so delicious!

The bottom two teams are Jenna & Kayla, and Corey & Jack.  It was almost good night ladies, but Corey and Jack end up being asked to leave the MasterChef Junior kitchen with their heads held high.

It’s always impressive to see these kids cook, but the highly technical preparation of sushi just leaves me awestruck.  I love to see these kids work, and these two should be proud to be in the top 10!

I know Jenna has more to offer, so I’m glad she’s safe for now. I’m excited to see what else Ayla has in her now, too!

MasterChef Junior: [Sausage] Linked

With 14 kids left in the MasterChef Junior kitchen, we got to spend a little more time with each contestant this episode.  Of course, focus begins on our winners from last week: Andrew, Jimmy, and Ryan Kate.  They get to compete in a meringue whipping challenge covering 12 lemon pies.  The winner gets an advantage in the elimination challenge and the chance to pie a judge in the face!  If Andrew wins, he pies Gordon.  If Jimmy wins, he pies Graham.  If Ryan Kate wins, she pies Joe.

The three get going, separating egg whites and yolks with their bare hand and the race is close.  Jimmy ends up the champion, and pies Graham.  Graham notices there are 11 pies left on Jimmy’s work station and 11 kids standing watch… so all the kids grab pies and shove them in the judges’ faces.  Let me tell you, these kids do not hold back!

After the mess is cleaned up, it’s time for an elimination challenge and it’s all about sausage!  Not only do they only have an hour to make sausage, but they have to compose a perfect dish with said sausage.  To cut down on the work, this is a team challenge.  As the winner, Jimmy gets to pick all the teams!  Jimmy pairs himself up with Kyler and picks the following pairs: Ayla and Riley, Andrew and Cory, Jack and Nathan, Jenna and Mia, Ryan Kate and Kayla, Alexis and Micah.

Here are the results:

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  1. Mia and Jenna make what Gordon calls the best sausage he’s had all year.  Their dish goes over big!
  2. Micah and Alexis make sausage that lacks appropriate fat and is bland.
  3. Jimmy and Kyler’s kangaroo risk paid off for Joe, but not for Gordon.
  4. Ayla and Riley’s sausage is delicious, but the portion is too small.
  5. Jack and Nathan earn praise for their polenta and spinach with yuzu, but their sausage needs fat.
  6. Ryan Kate and Kayla make an amazing dish for Joe that reminds him of home.
  7. Andrew and Cory’s lack of team work was evident and Gordon wasn’t impressed.

The winners for the night are Mia and Jenna!

On the bottom, Andrew & Cory and Micah & Alexis.  Micah and Alexis are sent home.

It was a tough elimination because the two girls took it hard.  As always, the kids should be so proud of themselves and the judges tell them so!  I am glad that Cory got another chance, because I do think that Andrew kind of ignored his influence.

It looks like we’ve got a front-runner in the form of Jenna… what do you guys think?!

Binge-Worthy: The Short Game

Chloe Kovelesky, the most adorable of tiny golfers.

Chloe Kovelesky, the most adorable of tiny golfers.

During a Christmas American Ninja Warrior marathon, I kept seeing commercials for Esquire’s The Short Game. As you all know, I’ve been desperately trying to find something to fill a very particular space in my heart left vacant by Toddlers & Tiaras departure from Netflix. The Short Game, an 8-episode season of very competitive 7 and 8-year-old golfers whose fathers are their caddies, does this, in a way.

These parents push their children through Pinehurst, the world championship of kids’ golf. Yes, these kids are seriously impressive golfers. And yes, these “Caddy Daddies” are seriously intense. The Short Game features:

  • 7-year-old Chloe Kovelesky from Boca Raton, Florida, who lives in a golf community so she can easily practice every day
  • 7-year-old Avery Zweig from Dallas, Texas, who’s usually clad in black and skull & crossbones to “attend her opponent’s funeral”
  • 7-year-old Morgan Rodriguez from Del Ray Beach, Florida, who is articulate enough to tell her father that his tough love isn’t helping her golf game… he doesn’t seem to listen. She and her sister Makenna both golf competitively.
  • 7-year-old Max Thomas for Modesto California, who doesn’t come from a background of golfers. In fact, he’s teaching his father how to play. His visual and analytical skills get him through the game.
  • 8-year-old Awesome Burnett from Flower, Mound, TX. His little sister’s name is Amazing, if anyone was wondering. His name actually grew on me, as did his caddy daddy who doesn’t censor his language at all for interacting with children.
  • 8-year-old Bryant Hernandez from Southern California is strong-willed and independent, but his dad has a lot of opinions saying, “ we win together, we lose together” and dressing the same as his son on the course.
  • 8- year-old Bryce Wylie from Boca Raton, Florida has another one of those intense coach dads.
  • 8-year-old Sachin Kommineni from Coppell, TX. He and his brother Rohan both play golf competitively, and their dad is a full-time coach and caddy.

 

Most of the time, these kids act like they have wicked ADD, but actually they’re just 7 and 8. I’m not sure if I even have the patience to play golf. Most of them cry a lot, seemingly no thanks to their parents’ urging. The exception is Chloe Kovelesky, who is very happy-go-lucky and plays consistently well. I’m sure the parents would agree with me here: that attitude helps her win!

The full season of The Short Game is on demand now! Be warned, the episodes are not numbered at all on the on demand screen. If you have the xfinity to go app, you’ll be able to see the correct order. There is also an, as far as I can tell, unrelated documentary film of the same name about 7 and 8 year old golfers. After the show, I’m interested in seeing that as well!

While this is in no way as crazy as Toddlers & Tiaras, it strikes a certain familiar note with me. With impressive youngsters and determined parents, The Short Game is a fun, quick watch!  It’s on demand until January 20th, so get on that while you can.

MasterChef Junior: Cupcakes & Home Cookin’

From one dessert challenge to another, the kids of MasterChef had a special mystery box waiting for them this week: another box… of cupcakes! Graham grabs one, and Joe another.  Gordon then invites the kids to come up and take one.  Oona announces that it’s the best challenge, since they get to eat cupcakes!  They then find out that that’s their challenge: 75 minutes to make a dozen cupcakes.

It’s not that simple, though, as this is their first team challenge.  They are paired off based on which cupcake the grabbed– Mitchell and Abby are together, Samuel and Adaiah, Sean and Logan, Josh and Oona, Levi and Sam.  They pull off their mystery boxes to reveal one more twist.  Inside is a leg tie and a waist tie.  It’s a three-legged cupcake challenge!

Four hands, three legs, two brains, one box, and twelve stunning cupcakes.

The judges taste:

the dynamic duo of the expertly color-coordinate Logan & Sean win!

the dynamic duo of the expertly color-coordinated Logan & Sean win!

This puts Sean and Logan in control of the elimination challenge.  For this challenge, Gordon speaks of his favorite home cook, his mum.  When he yells Mum! out comes Mrs. Ramsay with the three choices for the kids to elevate to restaurant-quality: chicken curry, shepherd’s pie, or a fish finger sandwich.

Logan and Sean enjoy tea & treats from the balcony as the remaining 8 in the kitchen are faced with shepherd’s pie!  They get to Skype their moms for a little inspiration, which is tear-inducing in its adorableness.

There are some bumps along the way.  Samuel is rather disorganized throughout and has the second mashed potato breakdown of the season.  He’s seemed stressed all episode, and when he starts crying over milky-mashed, Graham comes to the rescue.  Graham suggests he make a pea purée, using the potatoes to thicken it into a pea mash.  Sounds good to me!

Oona seems a bit out of sorts too, but Gordon thinks so highly of her that he tried to marry her off to his son during the cupcake challenge!

Here’s how the shepherd’s pies turn out:

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  • Oona (top left) is not confident as she brings her curry sheperd’s pie forth.  Joe calls her plating “rustic,” so let’s go with that.  Everyone is very impressed with her delicious mashed potatoes, though!
  • Can you even believe this plate (top center) came from an 8-year-old?!  Abby’s shepherd’s pie is delicious, but needs more seasoning if anything.
  • With his Moroccan shepherd’s pie, Samuel (top right) is starting to separate himself from the pack.
  • Josh’s deconstructed dish (middle left) is spot on when it comes to seasoning and presentation.
  • Levi’s shepherd’s pie (middle center) elicits a, “Dude, this thing is firing on all cylinders!”
  • Mitchell’s shepherd’s pie (middle right) is not the best visually, and Gordon comments that the taste is strange.
  • Adaiah’s (bottom left & bottom center) is delicious!  And so pretty!  Her dual sauces are inspired by Gordon & his mum– one spicy, the other more mild.
  • Sam (bottom right) puts out a beautiful looking plate, but the beef is very dry.

The winners of the challenge: Adaiah and Levi!  Both are proving to be strong competitors.

The lowest scores are Mitchell, Sam, and Oona who laments:

I’m going home.  Live with it!

MasterChef Junior did not want to lose our perfect little drama queen, Oona, either and she heads back to her bench.  Sam and Mitchell must go home.

Cry Count: When Oona cried bringing her dish up, you’re not human if you don’t cry! (episode total: 1 / season total: 5)

 

Guys, Levi and Adaiah might be killing it, but my eyes are on Sean and Logan right now.  Of course, I’m looking for Oona to make a big comeback!  Who do you think is looking like a winner?!

MasterChef Junior: Chicken Challenge

Hooray new content!  I’ve written before about how MasterChef Junior is an amazing show, and I’m so excited to recap season two for you!  These kids are crazy talented.  Like, I’m 25, and I cooked my first steak last Sunday!  I cry every single episode, so I’m also going to keep a cry-count this season.  MasterChef Junior is on Fox Tuesdays at 8 PM.  My recaps will be up on Fridays, because that’s where there’s space right now.  Let’s get on to the show, shall we?!

 

Sixteen young home cooks, aged 8 – 13, arrive in the MasterChef kitchen ready for Gordon, Graham, and Joe to judge their culinary skills.  Special guest and winner of the first season of MasterChef Junior, Alexander, arrives to kick things off.  (I cry already here.)  Alexander announces the first Mystery Box Challenge:

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The mystery box includes: pork chops, pork tenderloins, granny smith apples, hazelnuts, brussel sprouts, filo dough, fingerling potatoes, artichokes, whole grain mustard, and wild rice.

Alexander selected these ingredients, and prepared some dishes for inspiration– 13, to be precise, because, as he notes, he was 13 when he won the competition.  The kids get to work!

At one point, Coco cries because the mashed potatoes she’s preparing are too salty.  Gordon is not his typical TV persona in MCJ, and comes over to tearful Coco asking what’s the matter.  He tastes her potatoes, which needed a good mix and are not too salty at all, and cheers her up talking about his own three daughters.  I cry again because he’s just so sweet.

Joe, Graham, and Gordon select the three to taste.  They pick 12-year-old Natalie’s dish (left), 12-year-old Mitchell’s dish (center), and 9-year-old Oona’s dish (right).

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Natalie wins the first mystery box challenge!  She wins immunity from the elimination test challenge, and control in the pantry where the judges present her with options for the rest of the kids to cook.  Joe comes out holding a chicken, Graham with a duck, and Gordon, bravely, with a turkey.  Natalie is to select the bird featured in the elimination challenge.

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She heads up to the balcony and lets the others walk into a pantry full of live chickens.  As the kids run around to catch what they’re about to cook, 10-year-old
“city boy” Josh laments, “I’m from New York; I can’t do this!”  Luckily, MCJ literally made kids catch chickens for fun and no one butchered their new chicken buddies.

Here’s some of the stuff that was made:

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  • Top left: Oona’s chicken liver paté is sophisticated & impressive
  • Top center: 9-year-old Isabella’s chicken parm is undercooked*
  • Top right: Joe hands Sean, 9, a crisp 20-dollar-bill when he sees this dish
  • Middle left: Coco, 10, cooks unevenly
  • Center: Adorable Oona wearing Graham’s glasses, just because
  • Middle right: 11-year-old Berry’s boiled chicken is met with skepticism
  • Bottom left: 10-year-old Nasir overcooks and over-spices
  • Bottom center: Abby, 8, is the youngest in the competition and holds her own!
  • Bottom right: 12-year-old Samuel’s technically accomplished dish earned him high praise

* Isabella cries after serving Gordon raw chicken, and every single kid in the kitchen comes to her to comfort her.  I cry again.  This is the different between kid contestants and adult contestants, folks.

Sean, Oona, and Samuel are called out for having the top dishes.

Isabella, Coco, Berry, and Nasir go home.  Every time kids go home, I cry, which brings this episode’s total up to 4 times.

It promises to be an amazing season, with Oona distinguishing herself as my early favorite!  If you don’t watch this show, start now.

Who’s excited to see them bake next week?!